My grandfather sat down across from me at the table this past Friday.
“I hear you’re making aliyah.”
“Mmhm, I am.”
“I think it’s a terrible idea.”
Not the words I was hoping to hear, but what followed were some very convincing thoughts. My grandfather told me that he had moved to Israel with my grandmother when they were younger, and had to deal with the Israeli government and dual citizenship when they moved back. He didn’t go into detail; it was too long ago to remember, and things have changed over the years. My Zaidy has my best interest in mind. He isn’t worried about me moving, just about making official aliyah. Still, his words left me uncomfortably doubtful of my decision.
“What if you decide to stay there, and you get married after 3 years? Most of your benefits will have expired, and they’re of little use to you now. (The ones having to do with housing and income tax.)”
“What if you came back, and had to pay taxes to Israel and America?”
“What if your children get drafted even if you move back?”
So many questions that I’ve thought and rethought, yet, somehow, they still give me anxiety.
I’m so easily swayed by people’s words, especially from those I respect. When I left school and took the GED at 16, people thought it was a really stupid move; that I was flushing potential opportunities down the drain. Their words hit me real hard, and I did everything I could to prove them wrong, which is why I have a degree at 20… and how I developed severe adrenal fatigue. Being sick and constantly stressed was so not worth the feeling of accomplishment at the end.
So I have to remind myself- why am I making aliyah? Why not just go to Israel and try living there for a while, commitment-free?
And the answer I keep coming up with is, “Do whatever supports you most in succeeding.” As a 20 year old working a part time job, moving to Israel would be nearly impossible without making Aliyah. Aliyah is a package deal; it means benefits, citizenship, and a supportive community. By making aliyah, I’ll be offered free schooling, free ulpan, and discounted insurance. There are definite risks-if I move back, I’ll have to revoke my citizenship or continue to pay Israeli taxes. But not making aliyah now would be like sending a kid to his first day of school without his knapsack, since you’re afraid he might lose it.
Life here is as unpredictable as my future there; the only thing I have complete control over is how much effort I choose to put in; how much I choose to support my own decision.
I’m not sure why I’m writing this. I think I just want to encourage people to listen to what is right for them; don’t let too many voices in your head. People speak from their own realities-each is uniquely different. Only you know what’s best for you. Take what is right for you, and just appreciate the rest. The right answers will come forward.